the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Virgin Gambler

That's what this would be titled if it was a romance novel, because publishers love drama and sex.

Or I could simply title it Lucky Me.  You should stop now if you hate those beginner's luck stories.

I had never been to a casino before, and for years I've been itching to try it out.  You never know, I might need to use the experience in a book.  (By the way, you can justify SO MANY THINGS this way!  I highly recommend a writing career just for that handy excuse.  Got arrested?  You had to, because how else could you write about it with authenticity?  I've yet to use that one, but it's good to know it's there.)

So, since my husband and I got a free room at the Motorcity Casino in Detroit (that's another story) we tried out our luck. 

He has none.  He told me this ahead of time, then proved it with a fast $5 loss.  Then another $5 loss when I insisted he try again.  In fact, you'd have thought pushing those buttons on the slot machines was aversion shock therapy.  He couldn't quit fast enough.

My turn.  I'd done my research, Googling casino gambling.  I was disappointed to learn that the biggest money-suck at casinos is the slots.  Darn it, that's what I wanted to try.  The best odds were in blackjack.  So I studied up, got some coaching from my son-in-law and the dealer, and turned $25 into $65.  Good, right?  But not what I wanted to do.  And over all the noise, one of those slot machines was calling my name.

I found it.  A 10 cent machine with lots of 7's and bars and gaudy amounts of cash in glowing letters across the top.  I slipped in a $20.  My daughter suggested I go for the highest amount of lines and matches to increase my odds.  Okay, what do I know?  I pressed the 9 and and the 5 - a $4.50 bet.  Sevens and bars began spinning.  Then jerked to a stop.  My machine began ringing.  Down at the bottom, little numbers whirled faster than a gas pump spewing $5/gallon gas.  My original amount of $20 was long gone.  $40 flew past.  Then $60.  Still dinging and spinning!  I asked my daughter if this was for real or if my machine was broken.  She assured me it was real.  $100 spun past.  Then $150.  It finally jerked to a stop.  My virgin $4.50 bet had turned into $186.00.

You better know what button I pushed next: Cash Out.  I carried that voucher safely zipped in my jacket pocket where I could fondle it for the next hour or two while I played some more.  Not much, though - I was so pleased with my first-ever spin that I couldn't get into it.  When I was done my total winnings were $230.  Plus another free room I'd earned by playing for an hour.

What did I do with it?  Tiger stadium was about a half mile away.  The Tigers were home, on a winning streak, and Verlander was pitching.  We took a cab to the stadium, bought the best box seats we could find ($52 each) and had a terrific time cheering them to a 6-1 victory.  It was way more fun than gambling, and I still went home $100 richer.

I have to use that free room this summer.  I figure if I go during a home stand and allow a couple hours to win enough for box seats, we can have another great night out.  Gosh, this gambling thing is a good deal!

Yeah, go ahead and laugh.  Wave at me from the bleachers; I'll be in my lucky seat, right behind the Tigers dugout.

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